Changing the idol game: A guide to TikTok and 4th Gen K-pop

Jana Torres
Changing the idol game: A guide to TikTok and 4th Gen K-pop
Want to know more about your K-pop idols? TikTok can definitely help you with that!

Trends, video challenges, and quirky memes: you name it, TikTok’s got it. For creators, it’s fun and simple to post videos about virtually anything; for users, its scrolling feature only makes it more addictive. 

But another aspect of its gigantic success is its ability to connect people despite the distance and any existing social barriers.

Cue the world of K-pop: dazzling pop stars with lavish performances and large fan bases across the world. Beyond their performances onstage, much of their charm can be attributed to the “variety and entertainment” factors that allow K-pop groups to be more interactive with their fans. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, concerts were canceled and all kinds of in-person events were postponed. Finding ways to stay connected with your favorite idols and artists, then, was key to getting you through.

TikTok provided this new kind of connection. Thus came the fourth generation of K-pop idols: the groups most involved and active in utilizing the platform for connecting with their fans. 

Who makes up the fourth generation of K-pop idols?

There is no absolute consensus as to when the fourth generation of K-pop idols began. Nonetheless, there are specific names that have helped shape this new age in the genre.

For boy groups, we have two under HYBE Entertainment, TOMORROW X TOGETHER and ENHYPEN, who debuted in 2019 and 2020, respectively. There is also TREASURE from YG Entertainment, ATEEZ from KQ Ent., and STRAY KIDS from JYP Ent. 

A great number of girl groups have also emerged and made waves in the past few years, including ITZY, STAYC, G(IDLE), LOONA, and even Kep1er, which was formed from a recent survival reality show titled Girl’s Planet 999. 

Using TikTok as a K-pop idol

For artists, Tiktok gives them the ability to create heaps of content in quick succession. Through TikTok, K-pop idols can spark a TikTok dance craze, for instance, in no time at all. 

TikTok has also become a platform for newer K-pop groups and idols to introduce themselves to a larger audience. Rookie girl group STAYC ticked all boxes to success after releasing their third title track “STEREOTYPE” on the platform, which ended up becoming trending audio.

Other times, K-pop groups simply find trending audios and challenges that aren’t necessarily related to their genre to post as funny jokes.

Fans also look forward to bite-sized performance videos or vlogs that serve as peeks into their idols’ daily lives. These can even include collaborations with other K-pop artists, which is a plus for widening one’s reach to other fanbases. (And it’s just fun to see our favorite idols dance with our other favorite idols.)

Using TikTok as K-pop fan

It’s true: K-pop idols and K-pop fans are a team when it comes to bringing waves of success to a certain group and to the entirety of the genre. It’s no surprise that fanbases of all kinds provide rich content. 

There are all kinds of ways to belong to and participate in a K-pop fandom. It might even be fair (and fun) to think about TikTok as an all-you-can-eat-buffet:

On one table, you can join cover creators who publish their dance and song renditions of artists’ songs. On another, you can join the visual artists who share their fan art and fan edits. It’s also common to scroll past variety shows and performance highlights from different artists as a way to immortalize these moments. 

Regardless, the content shared by fans has led to the booming growth of K-pop. According to the Korea Times, the Philippines was recognized as the second most active in posting K-pop content on TikTok. Among the 97 million videos of the genre that have been uploaded to the platform, 13.5% of users were from the Philippines. 

Fans have even started various trends using the faces and videos of their beloved stars. TOMORROW X TOGETHER’s Soobin dancing to Dolphin by Oh My Girl became a months-long trend. In another instance, two million views were amassed by just one fancam of ITZY’s Yuna. 

So what are you waiting for? Get onto Tiktok now and and find the best idols for you! – Rappler.com

Jana Torres is a Rappler intern.

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